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So I am looking at purchasing my first anvil.  I've wanted to blacksmith since I was 8 years old, walking home from school and hanging out at this tiny blacksmith shack next to my mothers hair salon.  It's always stayed with me.  Only now do I have an opportunity to explore this.  I've researched and read and now I'm looking to start getting the essentials together and begin a new chapter.  I found this anvil at a flea market in western mass.  I posted a few pics on another thread, but I went back and took some more so I could get the opinions of the experienced folks here.  The seller claims it to be a Peter Wright. I understand that this brand anvil was prolific in the second half of the 19th century. I found no markings, but the shape is correct.  The only marking that are legible are the weight, and two letters on the front foot.  There is a good horizontal line across the front third of the face also.  It ringed nice, but who am I to judge?  This is the first anvil I've found since deciding to buy one.  ($400 or about $2.60/lb)  

so..... 

any thoughts?

Thanks for your time~

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I'm by no means an expert.

But, I seem to see  'OLE' on the side in one picture. Mousehole Anvil?

Not a bad pick up either way.

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It does have holes, front and back.  But the seller says it is a Peter Wright.  I don't see any markings to indicate that.

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Did you ask them why they thought so?

PW are best known for having a flat along the front and back feet. (However they were not the only anvil to do so.)

I'd think the seller was trying to justify a high price by claiming it was a well known brand.

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I'm dealing with a third party.  The seller had a paper rolled up in the anvil that talked about Peter Wright anvils. That's all the info I got on it.  I just don't know if it's a Wright or something else, and if the price is fair either way?  Honestly, I'm looking for a serviceable first anvil to learn on.  

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2 hours ago, draavi said:

I'm by no means an expert.

But, I seem to see  'OLE' on the side in one picture. Mousehole Anvil?

Not a bad pick up either way.

I was thinking the same. 

It looks like it’s in good shape. If the rebound is decent, I’d say you did well and will have a very usable anvil with many years left in it.

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I have concern about the horizontal seam across the face.  I found an image of a cracked mouse hole and it is in the same spot.  Could this be the beginning of a major failure in the anvil?  

I know i'm asking a lot, and seem to be over thinking things, but a purchase of this size is a big deal in my household. Maybe the anvil has decades of life left in it.  I don't know.  

 

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That horizontal line is the seam from where the steel face was forge welded onto the body of the anvil. Its nothing to worry about, lots of anvils are made that way. As long as the face is not delaminating, which it does not appear to be, youre good. 

2.60/lb @ $400 dollars= 153 lbs and change. 

If it is a peter wright, the price seems reasonable. But i would want proof of brand before i layed down anything. 

Regardless, its a nice looking anvil with plenty of life left in it. 

Best of luck. 

Edit: just realized that you were talking about the line in the face, not the seam of the face. That looks like a chisel cut to me, probably someone was cutting steel on the anvil and didnt use a sacrificial piece of steel beneath it. The fact that it lines up with that cracked mousehole is just coincidence. 

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Definitely looks more like a Mousehole (AKA The Undisputed King of Anvils) than a Peter Wright. However, keep in mind that both those companies were in business for years, and many, many other English anvil makers not only got their start working for them, but continued to make similar anvils after striking out on their own.  I use a 148 lb. Mousehole, and it has served me very well for decades.

I would disagree with Will W. about the crack. Mousehole anvils often have the hard steel faceplate welded on in sections, and this looks to my eye like a cracked joint between two of those segments. While it's conceivable that this could be the nucleation site for a catastrophic failure like the one in the other photo, I personally wouldn't worry too much (unless you're planning on doing a LOT of work with heavy sledgehammers). 

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Well, that's good to know. Thank you both for your opinions.  This is why I came here.  It has been a long time coming, but I'm finally moving forward with this.  That single blacksmith I meet back in the 70's made a lifelong impression on me and it's taken a long time to get here.  

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Looks to me like JHCC mentioned on a separation of welded face plates. I'd say through a lot of the majority of work happening in That spot. There is plenty of good area on that anvil to not need to work right in That spot a lot. The one below looks like that happened through Heavy work on the horn. 

Again tho, if the ring of the anvil is deader on and around that spot then the rest of the face, I'd be worried about it delaminating there and probably pass on it for that price. 

I'm thinking that's an " I Hill " anvil. The last letter was throwing me off but I'm thinking its Hill with defect on the last letter making it look loke a D or E

Also I usually see weight stamp on the same side as the name on mouse holes 

 

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Just from the feet I would say Mousehole.

Now having said that... if $400 is a major purchase, have you looked through the improvised anvil thread? To be a smith does not mean a London pattern anvil is required. For far less than $400 I could have a whole smithy outfitted. I hate to see you dump that much into a pretty well used anvil and not have anything left over for the other tools. I would bet that you could scrounge up a suitable chunk of steel in your area. 200# should run around $50 or even free depending on where you get it.

 

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Thanks... It is a lot. And i kind of got excited when I found it, but honestly, I originally was looking at getting a stake anvil from Old World Anvils.  A quarter of the price.  It should be good to learn on and have plenty of mass to work with.  I tend to run with blinders on until I catch my breath, then rethink things! I'm gonna step back and start at the beginning. Again, thank you all for your advice.  I appreciate it.

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Two4

If you do grab this anvil, Morrell Metalsmiths in Colrain MA. has a anvil rebuild day once a year in February I think.

Check their website. Couple years ago I paid $75.00 to have my Peter Wright spruced up. well worth it and a great day to hang around

some knowledgable Blacksmiths.

Scoot

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9 minutes ago, Scoot said:

Two4

If you do grab this anvil, Morrell Metalsmiths in Colrain MA. has a anvil rebuild day once a year in February I think.

Check their website. Couple years ago I paid $75.00 to have my Peter Wright spruced up. well worth it and a great day to hang around

some knowledgable Blacksmiths.

Scoot

Thanks a lot...  I'll check them out, whether i get or not!  

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I'm back with a new anvil to talk about... This is my step-fathers anvil.  He's kept it in his barn and then garage for the past 15 years or so. It was covered in rust and forgotten.  He said I could use it (but he wants it back if i decide i'm really into blacksmithing!)  I found little about the American Wrought Anvil Co. online besides that is started in 1899 in Brooklyn N.Y. and closed shop in 1910-11.  I'm going to assume that the 118 is standard true weight and not the British measuring system.  On the front foot are the numbers 1812 and the rear foot is the number 2.  You can also see some curved stress fractures by the rear hole in the fourth pic.  

Overall i'm excited about using this anvil and would love to hear opinions or any information on the history of this anvil.

Thanks so much~

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I don't know anything about it, but the price is certainly good! Nice score!

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Nice looking anvil, and you certainly can't beat the price. 

6 hours ago, Two4mirth said:

he wants it back if i decide i'm really into blacksmithing!

I assume you mean "...if I decide I'm not really into blacksmithing", yes?

 

6 hours ago, Two4mirth said:

I found little about the American Wrought Anvil Co. online besides that is started in 1899 in Brooklyn N.Y. and closed shop in 1910-11.

Brooklyn was where Hay Budden anvils were made; not surprising that other companies would be nearby.

6 hours ago, Two4mirth said:

You can also see some curved stress fractures by the rear hole in the fourth pic.  

Those aren't stress fractures; those are the traces of the forge welds used to assemble the body of the anvil. Cosmetic issue only.

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Just saw the post of the first anvil.  It is an Isaac Hill beyond doubt.  You can see the remnants of “Birmingham” underneath.  The “I” is a dead giveaway and it looks very much like my Isaac Hill.  

 

This is next one is a no brainer.  I agree with JHCC about the lines you see.  Those are the edges of a weld.  It has made it this long with that weld not breaking.  It could be a weak spot but it should never receive shear forces there.

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Why "assume" when you can put it on a bathroom scale and KNOW!

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we don't own a bathroom scale :)

On 5/16/2018 at 9:58 PM, JHCC said:

Nice looking anvil, and you certainly can't beat the price. I assume you mean "...if I decide I'm not really into blacksmithing", yes?

No, like if i really get into it I'll have to buy my own and give his back... (so it can sit on the garage floor again).  People are odd sometimes.

good to know about the welds.  I wasn't too worried, as it's lasted over a hundred years and still solid!  

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Hi Two4mirth, Your anvil is a first generation Hay Budden branded American Wrought horse shoe  for the Montgomery Ward company. I own several American brand anvils they are branded completely different and no serial number. Mr Postman has documented these American Wrought Horseshoe anvils in AIA and also covers the American brand if you want to learn more about either brand.

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Nobody in Western Mass owns a bathroom scale?  How forward thinking of them!  Take it to the feed store and weigh it on their scale!

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On 5/17/2018 at 5:05 PM, ThomasPowers said:

Nobody in Western Mass owns a bathroom scale?  How forward thinking of them!  Take it to the feed store and weigh it on their scale!

 Yes we are! 

On 5/17/2018 at 2:39 PM, Direwolf said:

Your anvil is a first generation Hay Budden branded American Wrought horse shoe  for the Montgomery Ward

Thanks for the information! I'm gonna look more into that tonight. The history of these anvils is fascinating to explore.

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